Welcoming more than 60 artists and thinkers for its inaugural season, this new French cultural institution in the U.S. is reinventing the traditional French residency model seen in the Villa Medici by hosting residents in 10 major American cities and exploring intersections between culture and the urgent questions of our time.
The French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs has announced the creation of Villa Albertine in the United States – the fourth international French Villa. Three hundred and fifty years ago, France created the first artists’ residency of modern times, The French Academy in Rome – now known as Villa Medici –, a global center for artistic and intellectual residencies that inspired the creation of the American Academies and many other residencies throughout the world. This fall, following those in Italy, Spain (Casa de Velázquez), and Japan (Villa Kujoyama), France’s fourth major villa abroad will open in the U.S., with a novel concept to extend the residency location throughout the territory of residence, with a permanent presence in ten major U.S. cities to foster explorations of an entire country-continent. Villa Albertine expands France’s global cultural footprint to its most significant form yet by creating a novel cultural institution and residency program anchored in 10 major American cities (Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.); partnering with major French and American cultural institutions; and welcoming 60 residents per year, from France and around the globe.
Villa Albertine is a cultural project of unprecedented scale that strives to overhaul the concept of artists’ residencies by breaking with the historical model of a single location: it instead develops flexible formats, in order to capture the vastness and diversity of the United States and to respond to residents’ individual needs. The Villa aims to amplify the voices of emerging artists and thinkers who examine the key issues of our time, while
better accommodating their creative aspirations through a tailored approach. Present throughout the United States and benefiting from a network of top-tier French and American cultural partners, the Villa offers an annual program of individual residencies, lasting one to three months, and intended for creators, thinkers and cultural leaders. Villa Albertine also offers more than a dozen professional programs crafted to promote exchange between French and American creatives. Additionally, the Villa will have its own magazine and content platform as well as a robust public-facing roster of events, including highlights such as Festival Albertine and Night of Ideas.
The inaugural season, curated by 40 French partnering cultural institutions, will kick off with the arrival of the first residents in the fall of 2021. Among the first group of residents, some will be based in a city, such as writer Constance Debré (New York); visual artist, performer and writer, Josefa Njtam (Los Angeles); and bass player, singer and composer Sélène Saint Aimé (New Orleans), while other will explore multiple cities such as filmmaker Alain Gomis (New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles), photographer and visual artist Nicolas Floc’h (in residency along the Mississippi River); and cartoonist Quentin Zuttion (in residency on board a train between New York and Los Angeles). Transforming the traditional concept of a Villa entails a bespoke approach: the specifics of each participant’s experience at the residency will be defined according to their projects. The first season will welcome a diverse selection of artists working across a wide array of mediums. Addressing the digitization of the world, the future of space exploration, environmental emergencies, and the reinvention of urban communities, each residency will respond to its specific location and tackle fundamental societal issues through a creative lens, bringing French and American perspectives together.
“Conceived during the pandemic, Villa Albertine was born out of the conviction that, in a world in crisis, artists not only need support, but can also help us understand and solve major contemporary challenges.” says Philippe Étienne, French Ambassador to the United States and Chairman of Villa Albertine “A new kind of think tank, which seeks to amplify the voices of those who think and create, Villa Albertine is counting on the transformative power of customized residencies, designed to foster exploration, questioning, and exchange, and open the minds of both the residents and those who cross their paths.”
About Villa Albertine
Villa Albertine is a new kind of cultural institution whose mission is to create a community for arts and ideas, between France and the United States. With a team of 80 people deployed across the United States, Villa Albertine offers 60 custom exploratory
residencies annually; a series of events; an online magazine; and programs and resources for professionals in the cultural sphere. villa-albertine.org (launching July 2).
Villa Albertine is a project of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, with the support of the Ministry of Culture. It is powered by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States.
We want to thank our founding partners FACE Foundation, Institut Français, Art Explora Foundation, Bettencourt-Schueller Foundation and the French-American Cultural Society for their support and commitment.
The French American Cultural Exchange (FACE) Foundation is a US non-profit organization that promotes French-American relations through innovative cultural and educational projects, in cooperation with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States. It coordinates support programs in the areas of visual arts, performing arts, music, film, translation, and secondary and higher education. FACE Foundation is Villa Albertine’s main partner in the US. www.face-foundation.org
The Institut français is responsible for France’s international cultural program. Supervised by both the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and by the Ministry of Culture, it promotes French culture abroad through cultural exchange initiatives. Operating in a space where the arts, intellectual exchange, cultural and social innovation, and linguistic partnerships interact and intersect, it is also responsible for promoting the French language and the sharing of works, artists and ideas all over the world. The Institut français one of Villa Albertine’s main French partners. www.institutfrancais.com
Bettencourt Schueller Foundation
The Bettencourt-Schueller Foundation carries on the mission entrusted to it twenty-five years ago by its founders, André and Liliane Bettencourt, with their daughter, Françoise Bettencourt-Meyers: “Help talent reach new heights.” That mission focuses on three fields: life sciences, the arts, and solidarity. It is driven by core values and beliefs that serve the public interest and social responsibility. The Bettencourt-Schueller Foundation and Villa Albertine have committed to a bold five-year plan to promote French artists and designers in the United States, while helping new residents travel to French villas all over the world. The Foundation is a founding patron of this residency program, which aligns with the philanthropic mission it has promoted for the past 20 years in support of artistic professions. www.fondationbs.org
Art Explora Foundation
The brainchild of entrepreneur and philanthropist Frédéric Jousset, the Art Explora Foundation, which launched in November 2019, aims to close the cultural divide through a series of initiatives in France and abroad, drawing on new technologies and mobile systems open to everyone. It seeks to connect works with their audiences and to support new creation and innovation. The Foundation is supporting 8 residencies amongst the inaugural season of Villa Albertine. www.artexplora.org
French American Cultural Society (FACS)
FACS is a San Francisco-based US non-profit organization whose mission is to support and undertake innovative projects in the educational and cultural spheres, to strengthen ties between France and the United States, and in particular California. Together with the San Francisco Consulate General and the Cultural Services of the United States Embassy, FACS is one of pillars of Villa San Francisco, which launched in August 2020, and now forms part of the Villa Albertine initiative. www.facs-sf.org
Learn more about Villa Albertine at villa-albertine.org.